By Martin Yee
KUCHING: A group of eight Sarawak riders and three coaches is making waves in their performances in track cycling ever since they were relocated to Kuala Lumpur in Sept 2019 where they are trained under coach Josiah Ng.
Under the watchful eyes of Sarawak appointed coach Josiah, Sarawak riders were about to set the Sukma in Johor ablaze if not for the Games which was canceled due to the Covet 19 pandemic.
Sarawak was set to possibly break a record and a piece of history as they were primed to win a medal in the track and for a State where there are no velodrome facilities that would it quit4 a big achievement.
In the last Sukma scheduled to be held in Johor last April which was a no-show, Josiah had set a target of three medals including a gold.
Josiah who also had success as a coach, having coached the Thai national team to the last Olympics held in Rio, Brazil described the progressing of the Sarawak riders some of whom were rookies and new to the track as phenomenal.
As a quick take on their progression, the coach who grew up in Sarawak described the meteoric rise of Muhamad Luqman Daniel bin Mohammad and the team pursuit riders from the State whose officially timed event was faster than the top guy in the national team.
Under his astute guidance, the team for the team pursuit event also made progress State record and faster than the last Sarawak Sukma team did and what is most impressive of their improvements is that they are all new to the track.
“I’d to relocate them all eight riders and three local coaches to Nilai (Negri Sembilan) here and the Sarawak riders are involved in all events including track, cross country, downhill, mountain bike and BMX,” said Josiah who mentioned that the riders were scouted from local meets.
“Yes, they’re progressing at a phenomenal rate. In the last time trial, one of the boys was faster than the guy in the national team and we don’t have the proper equipment “Daniel (Muhammad Luqman Daniel) is our star rider and he is good enough to be in the national team.
“It was just three ago these young passionate and driven riders were introduced to velodrome events.
“My goal is to get him to get to the national team in 2022,
“In the last IP last year, their time was equivalent to fifth placing in the previous year’s national elite track championships.
“Due to the Covet 19 and the cancellation of Sukma we have more time to develop our riders.
So far, Josiah who is a high-profile rider on the international scene having won the Commonwealth Games title, and had competed in the Olympics and world championships events has been a boost to the Sarawak cycling team.
He is able to get sponsors from his reputation in a sport that incurred high expenses in terms of equipment and he is working on more sponsors.
He is using his influence to try to get sponsors for equipment that is lacking in the Sarawak team but he had thanked the Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) for having done a lot to help finance the team.
So far the Sarawak team only has one good bike and according to him, they need about 50K to get the equipment they need. They need three more bikes which is the carbon track bike.
“I’m super proud of my boys for in three months they had improved and imagined what we can do by next Sukma in 2022 and none of the boys were using aero helmets and only one good bike.
My motto for them is “Every day is a Gameday” which gives them a competitive edge even during their training and it is the high-performance culture laid down by Josiah. Who had lived through that principal that brought him success? -DayakDaily